Midway ‘Cruise-in’ zooms to new heights

Take a look at the great turnout, and all the fun that took place at this year’s “End of Summer Cruise-in” event in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood …

Cruise-In entrant Gary Parham polishes up his 1941 Willis, for the car show.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Unlike their the gray and drizzly first edition of the Midway Business Association’s “End of Summer Cruise-In” – held a year ago, to the day – this event was kissed with sunshine and blue skies, as the snazzy jalopies, and custom cars and trucks, rolled into the lot on September 16.

Cruise-In entrants jockeyed for spots near their friends, while vendors set up their displays in the Midway Plaza parking lot, along SE 122nd Avenue just south of SE Division Street in outer East Portland.

Lorelei Young of the Division Midway Alliance and Keepsake Family Tree Video works with Dave Edwards, from David Edwards Insurance, checking in a record number of entrants.

Midway Business Association President Bill Dayton talks with a participant.

Other car clubs have held mid-September cruise-in events for years, commented Midway Business Association (MBA) President Bill Dayton of Pizza Baron, who briefly paused for a moment in front of his restaurant. “And, this is the second year the ‘End of Summer Cruise-In’ that’s been sponsored by our neighborhood business district.”

This event is important to the MBA for several reasons, East Portland News was told. These included increasing awareness of the business district, creating a family-friendly community event, helping the David Douglas High School Choir raise funds, and being able to provide a donation to support the Division-Midway Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative.

Commercial and non-profit organizations meet and greet visitors at the cruise-in.

The Color Guard, with VFW Post 4248 members Jim Hale and Neil Horton “present the colors”.

The David Douglas High School Choir performs a stirring rendition of our nation’s anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, under the direction of Director Christopher Silva.

“And, cruise-ins are always a lot of fun,” Dayton continued. “Car people love to show off their ‘rides’ – and visitors like seeing the wide variety of cars we have here today.”

And there was, indeed, a large variety of vehicles – chrome and custom paint gleaming in the brilliant sunshine – parked side-by-side in the city-block-long outdoor car show.

Scores of fancy cars and trucks …

… attract hundreds of admirers.

“The number of registered participants in this year’s cruise-in was more than double last year’s,” commented MBA Secretary Lori Boisen of Advertise in the Bag. “In fact, we had 127 registrations. But, by count, many others parked around the edge of the show – bringing the total to about 150 cars this year.”

Holding the cruise-in gives the organization a “foot in the door” with area businesses, Dayton remarked, as they contact owners and managers, asking for their participation. “Many area businesses donated raffle prizes,” he added.

The “Endless Summer Band” returns with Jimmy Thompson on bass; drummer Dan Premmer; lead guitarist John Elmore; and Jeff Dean on the keyboard.

The crowd showed their appreciation for the event’s returning rock-and-roll band – which we named the “Endless Summer Band”. The four-member group played together in their youth – and then went on tour with various major music acts. Even though 365 days had passed since these musicians last played together as a group, the band again sounded like a top club act.

“It’s fun to get together and play the music we know and enjoy,” said keyboardist and vocalist Jeff Dean.

Approaching the band, folks were amazed to hear the talented musicians play dance tunes, ballads, gospel numbers – for almost four hours – without repeating a song. And, they did it without a single scrap of sheet music, or even a song list.

Greeting the crowd is Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

An MBA member of several years, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz again attended the event. “This turnout is very, very impressive,” she said as she admired the vehicles on display and spoke with other visitors. “I love being here.”

“Events like the ‘End of Summer Cruise-In’ here in the Midway Business District are important, because they let people know that there are vibrant business districts,” Fritz told East Portland News.

“We also have the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative here on the SE Division Street, which is going to be transformative,” Fritz added. “People are excited about it; and it’s put on by people who live, work, and own businesses here.”

Winning the 50/50 drawing held by the David Douglas High School Choir is Jim Waddington. The choir won also – they raised $155!

Bill Dayton congratulates Ray Rush for winning the BIG trophy for his ’35 Chevy.

All too soon, the awards presentation was completed for vehicles in nearly all imaginable classes. It didn’t take long for the participants to disperse – leaving with happy memories of a delightful community event.

Midway Business Association next meets on October 9
Come learn about this business group, dedicated to helping neighbors and businesses improve the southern end of outer East Portland. Visitors ARE welcome, and the presentation is free (but you pay for your own lunch).

Their meeting runs from 11:45 AM until 1 PM at Bill Dayton’s PIZZA BARON Restaurant on SE 122nd Avenue, just south of Division Street.

For more information, see their all-new website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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